From the side of my eyes, I spied him clutching hold of a bottle this time, while lowering himself with a tremor into his chair.
Swallowing the painful lump in my throat, where angry words banked up, doused in pity, I left the kitchen and sat on the sofa with my head in my hands. Working in rehab among desperate drug addicts hadn’t prepared me for this. It was my fault. If I weren’t so deeply involved, I would have reverted to my take-no-bullshit approach. I needed to be tough again, not this crumbling mess that I’d become.
My head told me to leave him alone, but that would have inflamed the situation. Orlando was used to getting what he wanted. Such snooty behavior I normally wouldn’t have tolerated, but I’d turned into putty around him.
He rolled back in with two bottles on his lap. Even that looked tenuous; the slightest shift and they would’ve tumbled.
Orlando passed one to me.
“Thanks,” I said, removing it from his hand, as our fingers touched and electricity sparked through me. He looked into my eyes, as though he felt it too.
I gripped my drink in tense silence. After a few calming sips, I asked, “Have I’ve done something to piss you off?”
“It’s not you. It’s me and these fucking useless legs.”
I rose from the couch to clean the broken glass in the kitchen.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“I’m just going to clear the mess in the kitchen.”
“Don’t,” he said abrasively.
“But you could cut yourself.”
His spine-chilling laugh thickened the air. “You mean my tires being slashed?”
I rose. “I can’t handle you when you’re like this.”
He lifted his hand. “Stay.”
I headed to the door.
“I’m paying you to do as I say.”
My eyebrows contracted sharply. “What?”
“You heard me. Sit,” he said, pointing to the couch.
“You can’t talk to me like that,” I shot back and, fueled by defiance, returned to the kitchen.
He wheeled in. “I told you to leave that alone. You’re not my fucking cleaner.”
Ignoring him, I remained on my hands and knees, carefully picking up the larger pieces of glass.
He rolled next to me and grabbed my arm. “Stop.”
Our eyes locked. His angry, dark stare also showed frustration and pain.
I returned to my task with steely determination until every bit of glass was cleared. “It’s done.” I wiped my hands. “I’m leaving. You can stew alone in your own shit.”
“You can’t talk to me like that.”
Ignoring him, I headed into the living room and grabbed my bag.
“I said, you can’t go.” He followed me to the door.
As his gaze held me captive, I recognized a fragile glint. A cry for help.
Orlando was young, but right then, shadowed by the lamp, he looked older, as though a demon had visited him. He took my hand and squeezed it hard. It should have hurt, but I understood his need for a punching bag. At the rehab clinic, I’d experienced my fair share of angst. The more I tried to ignore drug-addicted patients, the louder they screamed out of some frenzied need to share their despair.
Available in Ebook:
It Started in Venice (Malibu Series Book 3) by J.J. Sorel
Although Orlando Thornhill and Harriet Flowers are connected to the cast from Malibu series 1 & 2, this is a steamy stand-alone romance between an older woman and her patient.
They shared one night of hot passion, and despite their brief encounter, Harriet can’t stop thinking about Orlando. When he ends up in hospital, following a surfing accident, she goes to great lengths to become his nurse.
Having enjoyed a privileged upbringing, Orlando suddenly finds himself in hell and swaps his playboy lifestyle for that of a cranky loner.
He eventually returns to his billionaire parents’ sprawling estate and despite his prickly attitude, Orlando employs Harriet as his nurse.
Adopting a no-nonsense, bordering on bossy approach, she eventually becomes indispensable and very alluring to Orlando. And the more he flirts with Harriet the more she has to fight her desire.
Their chemistry is so scorching hot that staying away from Orlando proves painful.
As Orlando takes the music scene by storm and the girls come gushing in, Harriet grapples with a life-changing decision and walking away forever. But can he stay away?